ALSA Artifacts When Sound Plays

On openSUSE 13.1 x64 XFCE with just ALSA and no Pulse, I get popping or slight audio artifacts that sometimes occur before the actual sound plays. If I wait a few seconds before playing another sound, the problem is more easily reproducible. Is there a way to stop this?

And does this not occur when PA is active?

I didn’t try on XFCE with Pulse installed as by default it doesn’t install Pulse. However, with KDE 4.13 and P/A on the same hardware, there is no popping.